Saturday 19 September 2020

In The Dying Minutes - J.A. Baker

Everyone has their secrets, some are more deadly than others.

What is she running away from?

When Leah is involved in a train crash, she goes to a therapist, Will. He attempts to help her through the trauma but whenever Leah is in his presence, strange things occur. She suffers from hallucinations that include visions of her dead brother, Ellis. 

As Leah reveals to Will that her friends Jacob and Chloe wronged her, further flashbacks of her childhood and parts of her life she would sooner forget begin to surface, troubling Leah even more.

But what is actually bothering her and what led Leah to be on that train? 

Nothing is as it seems, and soon she will learn the heart-breaking truth… 

What did I think?

Well this was a psychological thriller with a capital P.  I love J.A. Baker books and In The Dying Minutes feels much darker than her previous books; it's tense, creepy and disturbing which makes it a goosebumpy page turner.

Leah is such a complex character that you can't tell what is real and what is in her head.  Losing her boyfriend, her job and her home in quick succession has sent her on a downward spiral with devastating consequences.  It's not a spoiler to say that Leah is involved in a train crash and I just have to mention that J.A. Baker's writing of this scene was absolutely sublime.  It's not something I ever want to experience but I felt and heard unimaginable things through J.A. Baker's powerful writing.  I don't want to go into any details but there's one thing that stuck in my mind just before the crash and it's one of those sliding doors, what if moments.  I love this sort of thing, like the twist of fate and the possibility that everyone ended up where they were supposed to be.

Although I've focused on the train crash, the story is so much more than that.  It's a deep delve into the psyche of Leah, not just through her therapist but through her own actions.  Leah is so obsessed with her ex-boyfriend, Jacob, that she stalks him and his new girlfriend, Chloe.  I really enjoyed seeing inside the mind of a stalker: the delusions, the obsession and the disturbing mental health.

What really stands out for me is the way that the format of the book seems to mirror Leah's mind.  It jumps around a bit but rather than feel confusing, it just added to the authenticity of Leah's state of mind.  There are quite a few layers of the story as we unearth Leah's past and you can't help but feel sorry for her and think how things could have been different if she'd had counselling at an early age.  The story of Leah's brother, Ellis, really got to me and I loved the final thing that linked him and Leah - I just can't say what it is!!!

Shocking, disturbing and outstanding, In The Dying Minutes is so full of surprises that I feel like I need to read it again to pick up all the nuances that J.A. Baker has woven into her exceptional story.  An intelligent and imaginative story that is highly recommended.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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